ENCINO, CA - Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation‘s North LA & Tri-Valley Chapter held its 3rd annual ‘Literacy Walk’ (walk / jog-a-thon event) at Woodley Park, here on March 16. The event took place under picture- perfect sunny skies and warm, invigorating weather. The Literacy Walk attracted a record crowd of over 200 people;
The event started with a healthy breakfast of both Indian and American fare, provided by sponsors and volunteers. The 5k Jog began promptly at 8:30 AM. The walkers enjoyed a more leisurely start – with a yoga session focusing on warming up, stretching and breathing techniques, before participants commenced walking.
Notably, most of the planning for the walk/jog was done by the youth volunteers and the event ran smoothly from start to finish. The event concluded with an award ceremony where the top three performers on the jog/quiz event were recognized. Team trophies were presented to two teams that had maximum participation. Overall, the participants left understanding the cause they were supporting. Participants seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the event, and many expressed that they were looking forward to similar events in the community in the near future. The ‘Literacy Walk’ will benefit underprivileged children living in Indian rural villages, who lack access to schools and educational institutions. Ekal Vidyalaya is an organization which sets up free schools and provides teacher and school supplies for children in such villages. In addition to its focus on primary education in these villages, Ekal Vidyalaya provides the villagers with health awareness education and vocational training to ensure self- sufficiency and sustenance. It only takes $365 to run an Ekal – sponsored school for an entire year ($1/Day). Ekal Vidyalaya operates on a shoe-string budget; it ensures that over 90% of the donations reach the cause, and keeps administrative costs below 10%.
The ‘Literacy Walk’ also incorporated learning into its trail. Participants learned about Ekal and its mission while they walked and jogged; posters, signs, and stations on the track informed participants about what the organization does to remove illiteracy from rural and tribal villages. Many participants were quite surprised to learn that there were over 56,000 Ekal schools running in as many villages below the Indian poverty line. Ekal currently educates over 1.5 million children. At the end of the trail, children were quizzed on what they learned. “This is our third season hosting this walkathon, and every year we’ve not only accomplished our fundraising goals, but also continued to increase participation. However, this year was exceptional, with an overwhelming response from the community. The event raised enough funds to support more than 10 Ekal schools” said Suresh Iyer, President of the Ekal Chapter.